Things to Do in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Friday November 19, 2010 at 12:12 AM | 2 Comments

Mariachi music, Old Town Albuquerque, New Mexico, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Southwest musicians play Mariachi in Old Town Albuquerque, New Mexico

Things to Do in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The first place I take a visitor from out of town is to Old Town Albuquerque, where the city was founded in 1706. With a festive Southwestern environment featuring shops, galleries, musicians, restaurants and museums, there are plenty of things to see and do in Albuquerque.

Hop on an Albuquerque Trolley  for a city tour and taste some New Mexican cuisine at a local restaurant.

When I crave Albuquerque cuisine there are many options:

  • El Pinto, Sadie’s, Los Cuates, Casa de Benevidez

To escape work I:

  • hike or bike in the mountains
  • enjoy a spa treatment at La Bella Spa & Salon
  • take my dog to one of several dog parks
  • take a float trip down the Rio Grande with the Quiet Waters Paddling Adventures

For complete quiet, I can hide away at:

  • The Los Poblanos Open Space or Open Space Visitor Center
  • One of 17 public libraries around the cities
  • Casa Rondena Winery in the North Valley
New Mexico, Albuquerque, chile ristra, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Get your picture taken with a Chile Ristra in Albuquerque

If you come to Albuquerque, get your picture taken

  • at the Turquoise Museum
  • at the American International Rattlesnake Museum
  • in a hot air balloon
  • get your picture taken at Wagner Farm in Corrales with a ristra

If you have to order one thing off the menu try:

  • El Pinto – chile ribs appetizer
  • Sadie’s – blue corn enchiladas or green chile cheeseburger
  • Los Cuates – carne adovada blue corn enchiladas
  • Casa de Benevidez – sopaipilla burger

Albuquerque is my one stop shop for hot air ballooning at the International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta.

When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I go to Little Anitas.

For a huge splurge, I go to Vernon’s Hidden Valley Steakhouse.

San Felipe de Neri Church, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Nancy D. Brown

Photo ops in Albuquerque include San Felipe de Neri Church

Photo ops in Albuquerque include:

  • San Felipe de Neri Church in Old Town
  • Sandia Peak Tramway
  • Nob Hill neon signage
  • In front of the dinosaurs at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science
  • Holding a chile ristra
  • 4,000 square foot torreon fresco at the National Hispanic Cultural Center

The best vantage points are taken by taking the Sandia tramway to the top of Sandia Peak (10,378 ft)

The most random things about Albuquerque are:

  • Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (9 days each October)
  • Days & Nights of Route 66 in Nob Hill (each summer)
  • We have the largest flamenco event outside of Spain (Festival Flamenco each summer)
  • Home to North America’s Largest Pow Wow
  • Day of the Tread annual Halloween biking and running event
  • National Fiery Foods Show
  • Duke City Docfest – Documentary Film Festival
  • Duke City Quest – scavenger hunt
  • Lavender in the Village Festival
  • Quilt & Wine Fair in Corrales

In Albuquerque, an active day outdoors involves:

  • Hiking the La Luz Trail to the top of Sandia Peak (hiking trails are 20 minutes from most anywhere in the city)
  • Biking along the Paseo del Bosque Trail, a 16-mile one-way trail that winds along the Rio Grande in the middle of the city with uninterrupted right-of-way
  • Hiking at Petroglyph National Monument to discover some history along the way
  • Skiing at Sandia Peak Ski Area in the winter months
  • Snowshoeing or cross-country skiing during the winter
  • Mountain biking among the many trails in the Sandia Mountain foothills

My favorite walking route is the Old Town to Downtown Walking Tour or the Paseo del Bosque Trail.

Albuquerque has 19 museums covering everything from turquoise and rattlesnakes to fine art, personal computers and nuclear science.

For a night of dancing, go to:

Salsa Baby Dance Studio

Tango at Hotel Andaluz

One Up

Frontier is the spot for late night dining.

To find out what’s going on a night or on weekends, read Local IQ or Alibi and of course!

Special Shapes, Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, New Mexico, Noah's Ark, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Visit the Albuquerque International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

You can tell a lot about Albuquerque from visiting Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta –  the hot air balloon capital of the world!

In the spring you should attend:

  • Gathering of Nations Pow Wow
  • American Indian Week Pueblo Days
  • Restaurant Week
  • Women & Creativity
  • Albuquerque Annual Wine Festival
  • Run for the Zoo

In the summer you should attend:

  • AAA Albuquerque Isotopes game
  • One of the many live music concerts at the Rio Grande Zoo, Botanic Gardens or Albuquerque Museum
  • Downtown Grower’s Market
  • Savor Albuquerque cultural festival
  • Annual Folk Festival

In the fall you should visit:

  • Albuquerque International Balloon
  • McCall’s Pumpkin Patch and haunted house
  • Taste of Albuquerque
  • Albuquerque BrewFest
  • New Mexico Wine Festival
  • New Mexico State Fair
  • Globalquerque

In the winter you should go to:

  • NM Symphony Orchestra or one of the many performing arts events
  • Holiday festivities – especially in Old Town & Nob Hill
  • New Mexico Thunderbird basketball games
  • Weems International Artfest
  • New Mexico Bowl
New Mexico Pottery, Albuquerque, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Hand painted pottery in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Hidden gems in Albuquerque are the Fresco Torreon at the National Hispanic Cultural Center and the Native American dancing at Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.

For a great breakfast treat or espresso, go to:

  • The Grove
  • Flying Star
  • 66 Diner
  • Gold Street Caffe
  • The Grove

Just outside of  Albuquerque, you can visit:

  • The Turquoise Trail and have lunch at the Mine Shaft Tavern
  • Acoma Pueblo and have lunch at the Y’aak’a Cafe

You’ll  need a rental car to see Albuquerque, but Old Town, Downtown, Uptown and Nob Hill are very walkable neighborhoods.

If you have kids, you won’t want to miss:

  • Albuquerque BioPark – zoo, botanic gardens, aquarium and Tingley Beach
  • Explora Science Center
  • New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science
  • Cliff’s Amusement Park
  • Hinkle Family Fun Center
  • Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum

What are your favorite things to do in Albuquerque, New Mexico?

Thanks to Megan Mayo of Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau for assistance with this post. You may also become a Facebook Fan of Albuquerque and follow them on Twitter. I was a guest of  Albuquerque. Article, YouTube video and photos by Nancy D. Brown

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Passports with Purpose 2010 Prizes

Monday November 15, 2010 at 12:12 AM | 2 Comments

Help Passports with Purpose Build a Village in India

Passports with Purpose 2010

The power of community is strong. No more is this evident than in the vibrant travel blogging community.

Passports with Purpose is celebrating their third year of fund raising for a cause. I’m pleased to say that this What a Trip travel blogger has supported Passports with Purpose from the start and I continue to be involved in 2010.

Last year we raised nearly $30,000 to build and supply a school in rural Cambodia.  The Passports school opened in early October of 2010.

This year, more than 100 travel bloggers from around the world will participate in Passports with Purpose 2010.

Together, with your support, we are building a village in India. This year, we’re supporting Land for Tillers’ Freedom or LAFTI, an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of the Dalit (untouchable) population in India.  Raising $50,000, we will provide homes for those who have never had a roof over their heads!

Passport with Purpose Prizes

This week you will be able to see a list of prizes on the Passports With Purpose website. Each donated prize will link back to a full description of the prizes on the blogger’s website

Your purchase of a $10 raffle ticket will help support Passports with Purpose and ultimately build a village in India. For each $10 in donations that you make to LAFTI, you will will be entered to win a prize (or prizes) of your choice. The fundraiser begins on November 15th and closes on December 15, 2010. All proceeds go directly to LAFTI.

Hurtigruten, Norwegian Coastal Voyage, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Hurtigruten's MS Trollfjord on a Norwegian Coastal Voyage

What a Trip Passports with Purpose 2010 Prizes

Thank you to my generous sponsors and Passports with Purpose Platinum Sponsor BootsnAll.  This year I have prizes donated from Hurtigruten and Briggs & Riley.

Norwegian Coastal Voyage on Hurtigruten

Hurtigruten is donating a seven-day Norwegian Coastal Voyage or the six-day Southbound Voyage for two aboard one of Hurtigruten fourteen cruise ships.  The suggested retail value of this Hurtigruten cruise is $1,037 pp. Thank you Hurtigruten for your $2,074 donation.  Read my posts about the many ports we visit on this Norwegian Coastal cruise.

Briggs and Riley, 22" carry on, travel gear review, Nancy D. Brown, luggage

Briggs & Riley Explore 22" Upright Carry-on Luggage Review

Briggs & Riley Luggage Donation

Briggs & Riley, a second year sponsor for What a Trip, is donating their BRX Explore 22″ Carry-on bag. I reviewed this 7.5 lb. bag and highly endorse it. The suggested retail value of the upright is $290. For a $10 donation to Passports with Purpose, you may be able to own this piece of luggage.

Seasons Greetings from What a Trip

Check back often to see our progress for the 2010 Passports with Purpose and thank YOU for making a difference! Seasons Greetings.

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Best Things to Do in Vancouver, British Columbia

Friday November 12, 2010 at 12:12 AM | 11 Comments

Vancouver Cityscape, Peter Andersen, Flickr, British Columbia, Canada, Nancy D. Brown

Vancouver, British Columbia Cityscape

Will you be visiting Vancouver, Canada soon? Here are some insider tips to Vancouver. The first place I take a visitor from out of town is to The Inukshuk statue (Vancouver’s Olympic logo) on English Bay at sunset – a great walk along the sea wall and stunning views of the city, Stanley Park and the ocean.

When I want to eat typical Vancouver cuisine, I turn to Sushi!  With some of the best authentic and dynamic Japanese restaurants outside of Japan and access to incredibly fresh seafood, sushi truly is the taste of Vancouver.

To escape work  go tubing on Seymour Mountain in the winter. In the summer  go to outdoor big-screen movies at Stanley Park. During a recent visit I walked Granville and Robson Streets and found this great Marimba band.

For complete quiet, hide away at Third Beach in Stanley Park.

If you come to Vancouver, Canada, get your picture taken by the Lions Gate Bridge in Stanley Park.

My favorite thing to order at Cibo Restaurant is the Black Pepper Tagliatelle with Golden Chanterelles. I had dinner at Cibo during a September visit. I can see why it was awarded Best Restaurant in Canada by Enroute Magazine.


Inukshuk statue, Vancouver, English Bay, John Sinal, Nancy D. Brown, Canada

Inukshuk statue -Vancouver’s Olympic logo- on English Bay at sunset

Vancouver is one of the best places to eat salmon. Nearby, Haida Gwaii is a mecca for fishermen and women from around the world.  Head to West Coast Fishing Club to guarantee the best catch on the coast! I promise that you will not regret a fishing trip to WCFC – the food, lodge, scenery and fishing are spectacular.

When I’m low on cash, I go to Roaming Dragon – a streetcar serving amazing pan-Asian cuisine from $5.

For a huge splurge, I go to Miku Restaurant– they offer a unique style of Aburi-Style sushi and get daily seafood shipments from Tskiji Fish Market in Japan.

Photo opportunities in Vancouver include Spanish Banks, a silky white sand beach with the city in the backdrop and Granville Island Market for organic vegetables and quirky shop attendants.

The best vantage points are taken by walking to the top of Grouse Mountain – the Grouse Grind is an impressive work out and the views of the city from the top are well-worth the effort.

Robonson Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, things to do, Canada, Nancy D. Brown

Things to do in Vancouver, BC – walk Robson and Granville Street

The most random thing about Vancouver is the Annual Celebration of Light Fireworks display during July.

In Vancouver, an active day outdoors could be kayaking in English Bay or exploring the seashore at Whytecliff Park, or hiking to the top of The Lions.

Looking to stretch your legs will you discover Vancouver? My favorite walking route is the Sea Wall – from the cobbled streets of Gastown to the sandy beaches of Jericho and Spanish Banks, it’s a great introduction to this BC city.

Vancouver’s best museum is Museum of Anthropology.

Looking to shake your booty? For a night of dancing, go to Republic or Pop Opera – world-class beats and a stylish crowd.

The Red Card Sports Bar + Eatery  is the spot for late night dining. They serve delicious, authentic Italian pizza until 1am.

To find out what’s going on a night or on weekends, read Georgia Straight or Westender.

Are you a hockey fan? You can tell a lot about Vancouver from watching the Vancouver Canucks – the city is intense during the hockey play offs!

Emery Barnes Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, things to do, Nancy D. Brown

Visit Emery Barnes Park, one of many public parks in Vancouver, BC

If you are visiting during the spring you should see Van Dusen Gardens for spring blooms.

In the summer you might want to check out car free festivals on Commercial Drive.

In the fall, visit Rogers Arena to watch the Vancouver Canucks in action.

For outdoor adventure in the winter go skiing or snow-boarding just moments from the city at Grouse Mountain.

There are so many great places to eat in Vancouver. A hidden gem in Vancouver is China Town – for unique restaurants, night markets and a real taste of China!

For a super breakfast or to grad a coffee, go to the Caffé Artigiano.

Just outside of Vancouver you can visit Whistler, just over an hour away on the breathe-taking Sea to Sky Highway.  Dine at Bearfoot Bistro.

The best way to see Vancouver is to walk.  The sea wall is a must for residents and holiday-makers alike!

Will you be traveling with kids? Don’t miss the Vancouver Aquarium.

What are your favorite things to do in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada?

Related Post:

On the Road with Nancy Brown: Autumn Adventures

For more information on Vancouver visit Tourism Vancouver. Thanks to Marisa Marsden and Hawksworth Communications for assistance with this post. Article, YouTube video and photos by Nancy D. Brown. Vancouver Cityscape photo courtesy of Peter Andersen. Inukshuk statue courtesy of Tourism Vancouver and John Sinal.

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